February Update

 A short month and it is flying by fast! I am now 27 weeks - 13 more weeks to go! Overall, I would rate the last month as having tackled on major changes and challenges (aside from the baby front). There were other big projects that my hubby and I tackled on in the last 3 weeks, hence a sidetrack from what I have outlined from the beginning of the year. I feel I have some catching up on the baby front. But what this last month also revealed to me is how incredibly lucky Corey and I to be surrounded by people (near and far) who would come through to help see us succeed. I feel very blessed and thankful.

To recap the past month since my last post:

1. Recap of January Wish List:

Tidying List
KonMari - still in the works! I have started on culling my clothing and was successful in giving away clothes that I have not used in the last two years since my last KonMari in Calgary. However, I have let in more clothes as I ran into problem of not having any left to fit me when I grew too fast too quick! My sister came to the rescue with clothes that she wore during her pregnancy. I have selected the ones I will keep and will return some back to her. 

To Make List
Candle Class - I had to reschedule the candle class to April 14 (this was a Christmas gift to my sister). We are signed up at Soigne in Vancouver and that happened to be the only availability given the limited class schedule and my sister's work hours.
Maternity Dress - I have 13 weeks to go! Ahh! Need to make one for myself pronto :p. I found some inspiration online.

2. Gestational Diabetes Glucose Test
I went in for my Gestational Diabetes Glucose Testing first thing on Saturday at 7:30am (week 27). I chose the Lifelab on Keefer Street. Great staff! They attended to me right away. My last meal ended at 7pm from the night before, and I have had only water since. My blood was drawn 3 times. First one at the beginning of the appointment and every hour after that. I was given an orange juice to drink - the first staff said to drink it slow as other people have commented that it made them gag or puke. But I loved it! It tastes like Sunny-D. :D. For the next two hours, I just had to wait in the waiting room and go in to get my blood drawn every hour. My husband also stayed with me the whole time. He's been a big support. So another one off the checklist! 

Maternity and Parental Leave in Canada

A new announcement was made on Dec 3, 2017 regarding changes to the Maternity and Parental leave in Canada. Read the official website carefully: https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/programs/ei/ei-list/reports/maternity-parental.html#h2.1

I'll be updating this post as I go through submitting and processing EI for maternity and parental leave. Hoping this information will help others who are also on the same boat.

To consider:

  • Eligibility (accumulated 600 insurable hours, you have paid premiums, etc).
  • Choice of 12 month (standard) vs 18 month (extended) of insurable income to a max amount.
  • Benefit rate of 55% of insurable income for standard vs. 33% for extended to a max amount
  • Maximum insurable income amount of $51,300 or expect to receive $543/week (12 month leave) or $326/week (18 month leave) gross.
  • EI is a taxable benefit. Provincial and federal tax rates applicable.
  • Bi-weekly payment; paid on Tuesdays.
  • Financial picture: what would it be like to go from 100% to 55% to 33%?

    The process that I am following is what my spouse and I agreed are best for our situation. It may be different for you. Generally...
  • Research your work benefit thoroughly for top up benefit during parental leave, if available.
  • Advise your managers of your anticipated leave. Provide an overview of your current work in place, and give them a plan or recommendation of someone to take over your position for the leave, if possible. Here are my tips on this post.
  • Apply for maternity leave before expected due date (3 months).
  • Share parental leave with spouse

Baby List for Tiny Places

Currently, my husband and I are living in a ~500sq ft apartment. The space is capital Cozy. We have moved cities and apartments many times over the years, but coming 'home' to Vancouver was probably the most challenging space wise due to low vacancy (<1%) and high rent.

We have made the decision to stay put where we are for the meantime and then re-assess our situation after the baby comes. With that in mind, we are making room for our little one. 

I have exchanged e-mails with my sister early in the year about this initial list that I have and I will re-assess as we gather them. I've come up with 15 items categorized by: Travel, Sleep, Clothing, Nursing, For Myself.

1. Car seat (brand new)
2. Carrier, Ergo baby carrier.
3. Stroller. 

4. Bassinet/Crib
5. Receiving Blankets/Swaddle
6. Rocker

7. Booties (3 to 4) and mitts, hat.
8. Diapers (newborn, 3 to 6 mos) with receipt, if possible. Can return.
9. Onesies (newborn) x 8

10. Breast pump
11. Bottle (cannot return) 
12. Formula - if top up needed (cannot return)

For Myself
13. Nursing Bra/Pads
14. Maternity Clothes
15. Other Self Care


January Wish List

I've got a couple of big category items on my wish list for January. They are my tidying list and a to make list below:

Tidying List

KonMari 2018 (Vancouver edition) I've practiced KonMari method since finishing her book in 2016. I've initially culled and tidied our old place in Calgary. Thereafter, I knew that there was no turning back. I have permanently changed - for the better, thank you Marie Kondo! We have pared down further since moving to Vancouver. But with all the changes we are anticipating this 2018 and the changes happening to my body, I decided that it is yet again time to go through the process start to finish categorically. My goal is to accomplish this before end of January. The date I have set out for full tidying are: Jan 14 and Jan 21. 

To Make List

  1. Maternity Dress or Top - I've got a sewing machine that I have not touched since I bought it. I would like to make a simple shift dress (or top) that I can wear during maternity.
  2. Candle Making Class - I picked my sister for Secret Santa this past Christmas. She's only got a couple on her list: a candle and crochet dish towel. I slowly started making her a dish towel which I didn't finish on time. So I picked up some dish cloth from Muji as a last resort. It was hard not to keep it for myself (ha!) I got her a two hour candle making class at Soigne through Groupon so she and I can both make candles!

Now if I can get through all those that would be amazing!

New Year Pursuit

Jokingly, we treat our year end as if it is mine and my husband’s annual shareholders meeting. 
What kind of life do we want to build? How would we like to live? What brings us joy?
Simply, how do we create balance, contrast and harmony in our everyday.

These are the things that come to my mind:

  • Small space living: while this one is a given for living in Vancouver. We are choosing to stay in downtown Vancouver and pursue living in a relatively small footage than if we live outside the city. The small space offsets cost and stress of commuting long hours. I have personally owned 1 car named Clarissa, who unfortunately was totalled in Calgary at the beginning of 2017. I was very lucky to come away whole (concussion, back pain and scratches aside). Living close to where we work allows us to be car-free which is liberating in itself. Free from car maintenance, insurance and parking costs, etc. We see a lot of health benefits to walking as well, given we already spend a majority of time sitting down and in front of a screen.
  • Less things, more life: We've moved around a few cities and even moving around apartments within those cities that I developed an internal check before bringing any item in the house. Is this something I want to move with me? Post-KonMari method, I simply ask, does this spark joy? After living with relatively few things and by that, where I know exactly all the items in my wardrobe or know where a little widget in my place is located - only then I know that things are in order. More than physical space that any material thing takes up, they also take up mental space. Right now, there's a corner in our small bedroom that I have been meaning to tackle and I know that is not resolved in my mind. I do know that the less things I have (quantity speaking), the more room I have to reflect on life, family and relationships.
  • Growing, taking risks: I find that I personally err on the risk averse side. I know this may come from a combination of how I grew up and what I now do for work - always scanning and assessing risks. So generally the idea of paring down and cutting down on material possession, though not an easy challenge, was something that spoke volumes to me. In contrast to that, how can I continue to grow? How and where can I take more risks? Growth comes from facing fears and challenges. 

I don't have all the answers yet, but those are some of the things I am thinking about to start off the year.